The first boss in Nioh is Derrick the Executioner in the Tower of London stage. While some may find this boss fairly easy to defeat, if you don’t have a lot of prior experience with the game it can be a very challenging encounter. What makes the Nioh first boss encounter potentially difficult is the fact that you don’t have a lot of William’s abilities that are gained a bit later in the game. This article covers some of the basics of the Nioh first boss battle against Derrick the Executioner and how to defeat him with limited abilities.

Defeat Derrick the Executioner

If you’ve been having trouble trying to defeat Derrick the Executioner, you may want to start off by checking out our video walkthrough of the Tower of London area. This shows you the location of the best gear in the area that’s a little out of the way if you went directly to the boss. With this superior gear you can take a few more hits and dish out a bit more damage.

Phase One

Once you’re ready to take on the boss at the top of the Tower of London he has two phases, each with separate health bars. The first phase is a fairly straightforward battle. Derrick the Executioner will use a variety of attacks, including a single swing with his axe, a double swing or triple swing, and a charge that ends with a single swing. Occasionally the boss will perform the charge after one of the other attacks.

Move in and out of Derrick’s attack range until he swings his axe. If you’ve moving in and out you shouldn’t have too much difficulty dodging this attack, then quickly moving in to land a few hits of your own before retreating again. If he charges at you, wait until he starts moving, then dodge to the left or right and quickly move in behind Derrick to get in a few more attacks.

If Derrick starts blocking your attacks pay close attention to your stamina gauge (the green bar in the upper left corner). If you have plenty of stamina, go for several attacks even while Derrick is blocking. This will potentially break Derrick’s guard so you can score a few free attacks while he recovers. If he falls to the ground after this barrage, use Strong Attack (Triangle) to inflict significant damage while he’s grounded. Repeat this process and it won’t be long before Derrick’s first health bar is depleted.

Phase Two

After a quick power up, Derrick gains a few new attacks that you need to watch out for in phase two of this battle. His charge doesn’t change much, so approach that in the same way you did during the first phase. However, he now has much longer range with his axe, and he gains a three-hit combo that you need to watch out for.

Use a similar strategy to the first phase, moving in and out of Derrick’s attack range until he swings his axe. Usually he will attack with two consecutive swings when he’s not charging or performing his quick three-hit combo attack. Once again, the range of the axe is considerably longer this time so you may need to dodge back when you see him attack. Just stay a bit further away when you’re moving in and out of Derrick’s attack range to ensure you can get back far enough to avoid his attacks. It’s also important to keep your back away from the sides of the area so that you have room to move back and avoid Derrick’s attacks.

If you get behind Derrick during this phase, he will turn around with a quick attack toward his back. Don’t stand behind him for more than a few quick hits or you may have difficulty avoiding this quick turnaround attack.

Stay on Derrick when his stamina is low (the purple bar directly below the health bar that hovers over his head) because if you can stun him when he has no stamina you can end the battle immediately. If you get a stun in this situation your Guardian Spirit will tell you how to use a Living Weapon (Square and Triangle at the same time). If you can pull this off a cinematic plays that ends the fight immediately.

For more strategies and advice on boss battles and other aspects of the game, head over to our Nioh game hub!